The following article was written by a Southern California high school senior/baseball player who owns Rapsodo HITTING 2.0 and PITCHING 2.0 units. This is the story about how he helped his peers improve their skills and get noticed through his creation of virtual recruiting videos using Rapsodo data.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken its toll on the world, and no exceptions were made for the sport of baseball.
For high school players, losing their 2020 season meant losing the chance to gain exposure to college recruiting opportunities. Showcases, tournaments, and high school games all ceased to exist.
In the absence of traditional opportunities to get noticed, Rapsodo stepped up to the plate. I already owned Rapsodo HITTING 2.0 and PITCHING 2.0 units, and I knew the pandemic would allow me to maximize their potential.
HELPING RECRUITS GET NOTICED USING TECHNOLOGY
It was then when I decided to share this technology with other baseball players and help them collect their own Rapsodo data.
With the opportunity to get noticed at tournaments or high school games benched until further notice, I made it my mission to give as many players as possible the opportunity to showcase their talents to recruiters. To do that, I took a combination of video and data provided by Rapsodo technology to create highlight videos for players, like the one below:
Along the way, I gained valuable insight into the uses and significance of Rapsodo data while also learning the ins and outs of the machines.
I wanted to make sure I was analyzing player data to the best of my ability, so I completed the Rapsodo Hitting and Pitching Certified Courses. These courses taught me information you cannot find anywhere else when it comes to fully understanding data points like launch angle, spin efficiency, induced vertical break, and more.
Taking these courses were crucial in my quest to help my peers understand and use the data they were collecting. Gathering the data and having it to show off is one thing, understanding how to use it to improve is another.
GETTING COACHES ON BOARD
Many colleges and professional teams have found their uses Rapsodo technology, but data-driven coaching is not as popular with high school baseball teams — yet. At the beginning of my Rapsodo journey, many veteran coaches I worked with had not seen the benefits of new age data collection.
I managed to introduce the concepts of Rapsodo to many high school baseball coaches, and applied it in a way for them to directly see its benefits.
BENEFITS OF RAPSODO DATA APPLICATION
The first and probably most obvious application of Rapsodo data would be player evaluation. Since I was producing videos meant to wow college coaches and scouts, I saw first hand how Rapsodo’s interface can be tailored for this use.
The Rapsodo export video feature is perfect for creating recruiting videos. It shows pitching or hitting data along the right side of the screen next to the video clip of the pitch or hit, making it easy for coaches to watch fundamentals of a player alongside his metrics. Numbers don’t lie.
The second beneficial application for Rapsodo data is high school (and beyond) player development.
Rapsodo metrics are a great way to analyze performance and help high school players get better. I experienced this first hand when I was recording data for a club team’s bullpens, looking at the data in real time with the pitching coach.
A good example of how Rapsodo data aids in player development is a time when a pitcher was consistently throwing what looked like an ineffective curveball to the naked eye. When analyzing the pitcher’s data, I noticed extremely low spin efficiency and high gyro spin. These numbers demonstrate how the curveball was losing efficient forward topspin and decrease vertical break when thrown.
Working with the coach, we realized the pitcher was using an incorrect grip on the baseball, and that was causing the ball’s spin to go from a desired forward topspin to angling gyro spin, which is more commonly seen in sliders.
Instant feedback and reporting
Rapsodo helps establish a pitcher’s feel for a particular pitch by giving them instant feedback for each pitch. This feature is what allowed the coach and me to quickly identify and fix the grip issue with the pitcher in the example above.
In addition to all the in-practice benefits, Rapsodo develops in-depth pitching and hitting reports that can be found on the Cloud. These individualized reports will help coaches and players understand practice data on a deeper level.
Player Concentration & Competitiveness
Rapsodo HITTING 2.0 helps with player concentration, especially at the high school level. When we did practice rotations, the batting cage became a more intense, competitive experience. With Rapsodo watching, every swing counts. Hitters good and not-so-good have to focus just a little more.
Individual competition amongst hitters or within yourself drives each player to become better. That consistent focus in practice translates to deeper focus in the box during games.
In addition, Rapsodo HITTING 2.0 helps high school players recreate their swings, if needed. For example, when I was recording hitting data for a player’s cage session, I read out his launch angles and when a preferred angle was reached, he would know what that swing felt like.
One negative I have seen using Rapsodo with high school players is that players may try to overthrow or overswing, thinking that will result in the best numbers. As we all know, overthrowing or overswinging doesn’t necessarily produce the best results, and may cause physical injury. Players need to remember to stay within themselves, and coaches need to make sure they constantly remind players to use proper mechanics when Rapsodo comes to practice.
Since many showcases have been cancelled, Rapsodo sessions have allowed pitchers to showcase their stuff without compiling pitches at long travel ball tournaments — making Rapsodo data a solution to potential arm injury many young pitchers face. Further, consistent use of Rapsodo may uncover possible arm injury if data shows a decrease in certain metrics.
Player & Coach Relationship Building
Another interesting benefit for using Rapsodo data is the relationship building that happens between player and coach. Data is validation, affirming what a veteran high school coach observes, which in turn gives that coach credibility when giving instruction. Going over data as a player with your coach also allows for one-on-one time, creating a a tighter bond and trust between the two.
I must admit, my generation is used to instant gratification, and Rapsodo gives us that.
Follow me on Twitter for more virtual scouting videos!
Learn more about the benefits of Rapsodo. Visit www.rapsodo.com/baseball.